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Churches condemn police for interrupting JCC’s online services

By Mathew Ndungu
Tuesday, April 6th, 2021
Bishop David Thagana
In summary

Days after armed officers stormed Jesus Celebration Centre (JCC) Ongata Rongai church in Kajiado County and interrupted its live proceedings for allegedly contravening the laid down COVID-19 rules, churches have come out to condemn the incident that they termed as a threat to Christian freedom of worship.

The churches said they watched the news of 'police harassment' at the altar of the church with shock and disbelief.

Under the umbrella of Federation of Evangelical and Indigenous Christian Churches of Kenya (FEICCK), the churches took issue with police for invading a service whose actors had fully adhered to the newly stipulated Covid-19 protocols.

“We may be in denial but we just can’tbelieve that this could happen in Nairobi’s environs 58 years after Kenya’s independence,” said FEICCK secretary general bishop David Munyiri Thagana.

The said church had its live stream service interrupted despite fully complying with regulations issued by the Interfaith Council on Sunday, April 4.

FEICCK is now demanding that the Inter-Faith Council pronounces itself on the matter to avert confusion among churches that are offering online services.

“Unless this pronouncement happens as a matter of urgency, we do not know which Inter-Faith Councilguidelines we should follow and which ones will expose us to police brutality,” said Thagana.

In the regulations, the Interfaith Council on the national response to coronavirus pandemic and which is chaired by Antony Muheria had prohibited in-person worship in counties where lockdown was ordered to combat rising Covid-19 cases.

Murehia’s council had directed the places of worship in the zoned areas to revert to online worship in which the number of people needed for the transmission was not to exceed 15 people.

In a video that has since flickered on social media, police officers are seen standing on the altar asking the church leader to vacate as places of worship are not allowed to operate in the revised COVID-19 regulations.

There was a heated exchange between a pastor at the church with the police which has since triggered fury among a section of the church which feel police acted inappropriately.

Bishop Thagana in a statement regretted that for armed police to storm a church with guns disrespected church operations and imposed fear among the few congregants who were offering online services.

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